Reveries of Frances.
Her flight is two hours late.
It’s pushing midnight.
O, how I wish I had the stamina of Frances,
perched on the balcony of her high rise
in the peppercorn tree hooting for her love.
She’d be at it all hours of the night.
By morning she’d be gone
but back again the next night.
She was welcome as a full moon, the stars.
I know love is as good a reason to hoot
as any other.
Christ, she had great lungs.
Shone a torch up there once
but she retreated to a backroom up there
in the peppercorn tree.
Spring after Spring she’d come
then one Spring, the year of the bush-fires,
The peppercorn tree seems empty now
like a fridge with no food in it.
pic courtesy of wiki commons
I sometimes wonder who he was, that man who called at our place a few years after dad had died and mum had moved into a nursing home.
Did mum have a secret life?
We all need someone or something to keep us afloat.
She wasn’t really a bum.
She had a name.
She had a face too
but she asked me not to
But what really attracted her to me
was she was reading a book.
You don’t really associate street people
And it was a big book.
Like a Russian novel.
Dostoevsky or Tolstoy maybe.
But it was a home grown novelist.
a true story about a girl called Jessica.
She was on page 237 and she was only halfway
We talked briefly.
I put some coins in her cap and left her to it
on the cold sidewalk.
I would like to have known her story
but you can’t be intrusive.
.I drive down one of the backroads of desolation, full moon in my eyes, when I see him, shuffling along, hands in pockets.
Hop in, I say..
Are you still whoring with yr other voices? he asks.
Nah, I say. I was trying them on. They didn’t do it for me. You’re the one I want.
It sounds like a song.
Would you like me to sing it?
With your voice? No thanks.
I was sorta lost, I say. You’re my natural voice. Demotic, lyrical at times, a little looney.
You’re my man, my voice says, hopping in, giving me a manly hug.
We drive on, slow, easy, companionable, the full moon in our eyes.
pic courtesy of pinterest
I’m on my own again.
My partner’s hit the sack.
The cat’s snuggled up in her basket.
Tiffany’s asleep in the tank, light out.
Even the mozzies have called it a day..
There’s nothing on TV.
Perhaps someone will text. Someone …
Is this what it’s going to be like?
I always laughed at cartoons
was astonished before paintings & poems
but now I pass the magazine to you,
the one with the crazy cartoons.
Look at this, I say, & you do and smiles
span our faces & rumble our bellies
like little laughing Buddhas;
Trouble shared is trouble halved,
my mother used to say — but Joy
It is doubled when shared with another.
pic courtesy of Pinterest by John Currin
Sometimes I wake up in a room
& don’t know where I am.
Sometimes I walk into a room that isn’t
carrying two cups of coffee,
one for me, one for her
and a Sunday Mail under my arm
but that was yesterday.
I’m in the 4
th dimension now.
Somewhere in the distance a crow caws, a cat hisses, an old CD
is playing, ‘You’re out of time, my baby’.
I scratch my head, my balls.
How do I get back Where’s the exit door?
They didn’t tell you when you trustingly submitted to a covid test that you’d have to quarantine for fourteen days even if you tested negative.
They didn’t tell you the queues would be so long, could take up to ten hours to be tested, and that there were no toilet facilities available, no hot dog stands
And they certainly didn’t tell you a fortnight in quarantine by yourself would be as gruelling, as solipsistic as a fortnight in solitary in a maximum security prison — and that you never even get to see your jailer
There is no training for this.
And anyway you’ve only got eight more days of madness to look forward to, so it isn’t all bad
Until you realize at the very end, your state’s in hard lockdown for at least a week so you have to go through it all over again
You wanna know what it’s like? He says.
I’ll tell you what it’s like.
It’s like walking around with a ‘Vacant’ sign around your neck.
Like being scooped out by an excavator.
Or being a songbird without a voice.
It’s like walking along a jetty studded with couples clinging to each other like barnacles on pylons.
It’s like being on the esplanade ripping into a pulled pork burger like an animal ‘coz you’re on yr own so it isn’t all bad.
That’s what it’s like.